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Stamford Kids Learn Lesson in Science From Legos

Robots are being deployed to undertake several medical missions: A broken bone must be set, a pacemaker must be inserted and a syringe needs to be repositioned. A group of fifth-graders was charged with making sure the robot correctly executed all those tasks during the Jr. FIRST Lego League Exposition in the gym at the Academy of Information Technology & Engineering in Stamford.

"It's actually a lot of fun. I learned you could do creative new ideas with the robot," said Ryan Bastidas, who built a robotic device with six other team members from K.T. Murphy School. Their Brain Stormers group was among the many Stamford Robotics teams making presentations Sunday morning.

"It's showing the children how to go beyond where they are," said K.T. Murphy coach Lisa Tuccinardi. "This has been a very good learning experience for them."

The Brain Stormers consisted of older students, ages 9 to 14. Those are the FLL – or FIRST Lego League – teams. The Jr. FLL teams are made up of youngsters ages 6 to 9. FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is an international organization that encourages kids to pursue their interests in science and technology.

Seema Winsor and Peter Dowling, cofounders of Stamford Robotics , present the annual expo in an effort to engage youngsters in scientific discovery. This year's theme is "Body Forward: Engineering Meets Medicine." The teams researched and, working with Legos, demonstrated innovative ways to solve medical problems such as repairing injuries.

Educator Eileen Swerdlick was keynote speaker. Mayor Michael Pavia, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and several other officials congratulated the youngsters on their achievements.

For Ryan, Legos are a gateway to learning. "I actually worked with Legos in my childhood, also," he said. "I have all the sets of Legos in my house. I like it because you can make creative new ideas."

What do you think of Legos as a learning device? What games do you have in your home that are also educational?

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